TPE resin pricing, March 2-6: PE flat, while PP and PS slip

March 12, 2009

Polyethylene (PE) prices were stable last week with active spot trading, according to spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) and its reporting partner, The PetroChem Wire. Buyers sought out material since spot resin was priced below proposed contract prices for March. Poor demand is pushing players throughout the resin supply chain to keep inventories low, and most spot offers were for warehoused material, with fresh railcars fairly scarce, according to TPE. Contract discussions for March continue, with market participants reporting a roughly $0.07/lb increase between January and February. Producers are seeking a $0.05/lb increase for March, but buyers say poor demand will not support any such move. The export market slowed as international resin traders stepped out of the market after recent price increases, opting to work down their inventories. The weakening Mexican Peso has hurt that country’s demand for U.S. resin.

Polypropylene (PP) prices softened last week as poor demand impeded the market from moving a heavy flow of offgrade resin. February PP contracts were up roughly $0.06/lb, with producers hoping to further raise prices by $0.05 to $0.08/lb in March. Spot PP prices dropped about a penny, with railcars of good, offgrade homopolymer priced in the mid-$0.30s/lb, while generic-prime railcars were in the high $0.30s and even low $0.40s/lb. Copolymer sold with about a $0.02/lb premium. Here too, the export market slowed in comparison to January’s and February’s activity.

Polystyrene (PS) spot prices slid last week on poor demand and weakening feedstocks, dropping about a penny. General purpose was in the high $0.40s to low $0.50s/lb, with high impact trading in the mid $0.50s/lb. [email protected]

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